Magh Bihu 2021: Date and Significance

Magh Bihu - Date & Significance

Magh Bihu 2021

Makar Sankranti, a major Hindu festival is celebrated across India with different names, different styles, and other traditions. But the essence remains the same. In Assam, Makar Sankranti is also known as Magh Bihu. Also known as Maghar Domahi or Bhogali Bihu (Bihu of enjoyment), it is quite significant for the people in North-East India, especially in Assam. It is one of the most predominant cultural festivals. This festival marks the end of the region’s harvesting season and the beginning of the Assamese New Year. There is another difference too. While the rest of India dedicates the festival of Sankranti to Surya, the Sun God, the Assamese dedicate it to Agni, the Lord of Fire.

DATE: Friday, 15 JAN 2021


Significance of Magh Bihu

The festival Magh Bihu holds much prominence with the native Assamese. It is found to be observed in different parts of North-East India, especially Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This festival has much significance for the farming community, as it is a harvest festival and marks the end of the winter. “Bihu” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bishu” which means “to ask for blessings and prosperity from the Gods” during the harvesting season. Magh Bihu is also known as Bhogali Bihu and Maghar Domahi. The word ‘Bhog’ means eating, which is what the festival is all about – eating with the community.

Magh Bihu 2021: Rituals and Traditions

Feasts and bonfires mark the celebration of this festival. In the earlier days, the festival would last for the whole month of Magha, wherein comes the name, Magh Bihu. The Magh Bihu celebrations start on the last day of the month Poush in the Assamese calendar and go on for a week in the month of Magha.  On the last day of the month, Poush is known as Uruka. On this day, the men get together and put up makeshift huts, known as “Meji”. These huts are made from leaves, bamboo, and thatch. The women prepare and put together a feast made from a lot of traditional food inside the mejis. They include traditional dessert recipes like Pitha and Laru. 

People hailing from different tribes and communities gather to celebrate this festival collectively. A community feast is held, and everyone spends the night singing and dancing around the Meji.  The youngsters can be seen all dressed up and dancing in groups. Or they can be seen dancing around the girls in a circle. Such gatherings are called Mukoli Bihus. The atmosphere is quite electrifying. Anyone and everyone enjoys the full spirit of the festival. Bonfires made of firewood, green bamboo, banana leaves, and hay are lit.

The next morning on Magh Bihu’s day, after the ceremonial bathing, the people seek blessings from their ancestors and Gods, and a variety of offerings are made. The prepared mejis are then burnt.  After the huts are burnt, they scatter the ashes on the farmland to increase fertility. Celebrations include traditional Assamese games such as tekeli bhinga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting. 

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Wishing the entire community of Assamese people a very